Easy Carnitas Recipe + Video

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This easy carnitas recipe is ready in about 4 hours with the help of a slow cooker. Enjoy tender Mexican pulled pork for dinner tonight!

titled (shown in flour tortillas) easy carnitas recipe

When you love Mexican food, there are so many delicious options for easy dinners, it can be tough to pick a favorite. Mexican pork dishes like this one a favorite of ours because they can be frozen, then used to make dinner on busy nights!!

bowl of mexican pulled pork

Easy Carnitas Recipe

Tender and flavorful bites of spice-rubbed pork are slow cooked, then finished under the broiler to obtain the most magnificent crisp around the edges.

This recipe is one to keep, and it’s certainly one that we enjoy serving at parties and celebrations!

Looking for more slow cooker recipes to feed a crowd? Try these chicken tacos or my incredible barbacoa that tastes just like the one from Chipotle.

RECIPE VIDEO

Watch the video below to see how easy it is to make this recipe!

easy carnitas recipe ingredients in bowls on counter

Ingredients Needed For Mexican Pulled Pork

  • Sirloin Tip Roast – Leaner than the typical shoulder cut, but just as delicious, this becomes incredibly tender when cooked in a crockpot. Be sure that it’s boneless so you get the most meat for your money.
  • Chicken Stock – Instead of buying a carton from the store, mix 1 tablespoon low sodium chicken base into 2 cups of water.
  • Spices – A delicious blend of garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and dried oregano. I also add a healthy dose of New Mexico chili powder, which has earthy and fruity undertones and a medium level of heat.
  • Limes – Squeeze a couple of fresh limes over the cooked meat before serving. The bright citrus cuts through the fat and enhances the flavor of the spices.
making easy carnitas recipe in crockpot

Storage and Reheating

Unless you prepare this easy carnitas recipe for a large group, you’re bound to have leftovers!

Allow the meat to cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container. Mexican pulled pork can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

Reheat in the microwave or oven until warmed through, adding a splash of broth as needed for moisture. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight first.

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slow cooked mexican pork shoulder

Easy Carnitas Recipe FAQ

What cut of meat is best for carnitas?

A shoulder roast (also known as pork butt) is the top choice for a number of reasons. It’s easy to shred, especially when slow cooked for hours, and the fat provides plenty of flavor and moisture.

It’s also one of the most inexpensive cuts, making it a budget-friendly option for many families.

I personally like to use a boneless sirloin roast – it’s not as fatty as the shoulder, but it’s not as lean as tenderloin. It has just the right balance of texture and flavor!

shredding carnitas

Are carnitas and Mexican pulled pork the same?

Essentially, yes. Both are slow cooked for hours until the meat is falling apart and extra tender.

The difference is one small step at the end – carnitas are broiled before serving so the ends become brown and crispy.

crockpot carnitas on sheet pan

What goes well with pork carnitas?

Just about everything! We love to spoon some of the meat into flour tortillas with all of our favorite toppings.

It’s also incredible over cilantro lime rice with beans, salsa, and guacamole or stuffed into a cheesy quesadilla. You could even add some to homemade nachos!

Enjoy!

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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mexican carnitas in flour tortillas

OTHER SLOW COOKER RECIPES

Crock Pot Pork Chops

Dr Pepper Pulled Pork (Crockpot)

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas


pulled pork tacos, close up

Easy Carnitas Recipe + Video

Donna Elick
This easy carnitas recipe is ready in about 4 hours with the help of a slow cooker. Enjoy tender Mexican pulled pork for dinner tonight!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Course Main
Cuisine Mexican
Method Slow Cooker
Servings 8

Ingredients
 

  • 4 pounds boneless pork sirloin tip roast
  • 1 tablespoon New Mexico chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock, or 2 cups water and 1 tablespoon low sodium chicken base
  • 2 limes
  • salt , to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cut pork into 8 cubes. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl combine chili powder, garlic, cumin, paprika, and oregano. Mix to combine. Coat pork with the spice mixture on all sides of pork pieces. Place into a slow cooker (I used a 6 quart). Pour chicken stock around the sides of the pot. Avoid pouring directly on top of pork or seasoning will come off.
  • Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (alternately cook on low for 10 hours). Meanwhile prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil. When the pork is tender, use 2 forks to shred meat into large pieces. Taste for seasoning, if necessary add salt to taste (mine did not need salt). Use a slotted spoon to remove pork from slow cooker and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Pour cooking liquid into a pot and boil until thickened (spoon leaves a trail when swirled through) and pour over pork. Preheat oven to broil. Place pork until broiler until edges are nice and crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven and squeeze 2 limes over top.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 275cal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 149mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 3mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally published October 2014, updated and republished March 2022

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35 Comments

  1. I know limes are essential in pulling the flavor together… My 4 year old is allergic to citrus (lime/lemon/pineapple), but I'd love to make this pork. Is there a good substitute that pairs well? or is omitting limes all together the better bet?

  2. Pretty good stuff! It doesn't get the crisp that cooking it in a pot does but the flavor is right and I didn't even need 2 forks to shred it – just pushed the back of the serving spoon on it and it separated. Poured all of the juice back on it and mixed it up – delish!

  3. I make this in the slow cooker using pork butt. I just pull the fat out as I spread it out on the sheet to finish the carnitas under the broiler.

  4. 5 stars
    I just tried these last night and I have to say they have the perfect balance of flavors. I’m not usually a fan of pork, but this recipe looked too good not to make. It came together easily, and while it took a while a majority of it was waiting for the pork.

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